As the weather turns colder and days get shorter, many people experience a drop in energy or mood that is often referred to as the “winter blues.” Although feeling blue can be a bummer, there are steps you can take to make the season more enjoyable and beat the winter blues.
During the cold winter months, many people experience unexplained sadness or moodiness. Although there can be several causes — such as holiday stress — one of the biggest reasons is decreased sunlight exposure. Some symptoms of the winter blues include:
If you have been feeling down in the dumps, give these 15 tips to beat the winter blues a try.
One fun way to beat the winter blues is to get other people involved. Numerous studies suggest spending time with loved ones and creating a strong social connection can relieve stress and boost your immune system. Spending time together can also help your friends feel good, too — so everybody wins.
To beat the winter blues together, you could:
If you want to know how to beat winter depression, go outside. Nature in the winter is a beautiful sight to see. Plus, spending time outdoors — even during the winter months — can do wonders for your mental and physical health. Sunlight helps your body produce vitamin D, which helps fight brain fog and also helps with other important bodily functions.
Try these ideas to enjoy the crisp, refreshing air this winter:
Exercise and physical activity have numerous physical benefits, like increased heart health, reduced blood pressure, weight control and increased energy. But did you know staying active can actually help you beat the winter blues, too?
A good workout at the gym or a brisk jog can:
While working out in a temperature-controlled gym is a good option if you want to avoid ice or cold wind, there are several benefits to working out in the cold. For example, because it is cold, your heart does not have to work as hard, resulting in less sweat and more energy.
If you are not sure how to build a fire, follow these steps:
One way to beat the winter blues is to keep yourself busy. In fact, one study from the Association for Psychological Science found being busy makes people happier than being idle. When you fill your schedule with lots of things to do, you have less downtime for moodiness and gloominess to fester — just be careful not to overdo it.
Some ways to stay busy this winter are:
Listening to music is one of the best ways to beat the winter blues. Upbeat music can improve your short-term disposition and long-term happiness. For this reason, many people turn to music as a form of therapy when they feel sad. Listening to your favorite summer songs can also take you back to a warmer time and remind you that spring and summer weather are just around the corner.
Vacations are not just for summer, and a change of scenery can do wonders for your mood this winter! If you have started to feel the winter blues, plan a getaway trip for yourself or take a group of friends with you. Taking a trip can help you recharge and reset. In fact, some studies suggest that taking regular vacations can be good for your overall health.
KOA has over 500 locations across North America, and many are open year-round. Escape the winter cold by traveling to warm-weather places, or embrace the winter weather by planning an outdoor camping adventure.
For the perfect winter camping trip, keep these tips in mind:
If a vacation is not an option, something as simple as taking a drive or visiting a friend’s house can be enough to jog your mood and refresh your outlook. If the winter weather has you housebound, spend time in different parts of the house, rather than confining yourself to only the living room or bedroom.
One tip to beat the winter blues is to clean up your room or house. Think about it — is it easier to unwind and find peace in a messy, cluttered space or when everything is clean and open? A well-organized, clutter-free home is a great place to start combatting your winter blues. Besides, the cleaner your space is, the less likely you are to attract dust mites or irritate allergies, which can make your winter blues more challenging to manage.
Turn your home into an oasis this winter by:
Winter is also the perfect time to work on any interior home repairs or improvement projects. For example, you could repaint a room in your house, line your cabinets, replace knobs and fixtures or hang frames and art on the wall.
One reason people get the blues during the winter is the lack of sunlight exposure. Combat this by turning on the lights and opening the curtains and blinds around your home. Whenever possible, sit outside on your porch or drive with the windows down in your car to get as much sunlight and fresh air as possible — as long as it is warm enough. Light exposure can make you feel better, and it can help fight the cause of your winter blues at the source.
When you are feeling down, spend a little extra time taking care of yourself. Spend time doing something you love that makes you feel happy or relaxed. For example, to get over the winter blues, you could:
Several studies have found putting your thoughts and feelings into words can help you feel better. If you are experiencing winter depression, call a loved one and plan to meet for lunch or a cup of coffee. Let them know what you are feeling. Talking it out can help you frame your feelings and gain perspective, plus it can help you see you are not alone. You might even find your loved one is also experiencing the winter blues, and you can work together to lift one another’s spirits.
If you do not feel comfortable talking to someone about your feelings, consider journaling. Writing about your feelings in a private journal can reduce anxiety and stress by giving you a space to be open and honest about your winter blues and develop a plan to beat them. Another option is to keep a gratitude journal, which is a journal dedicated solely to recording the things you are grateful for each day. For many people, gratitude journals help them realize the positive things in their lives.
If you are trying to figure out how to get over winter blues, take a close look at your diet. Eating well and staying hydrated is very important for your physical and mental performance:
Not getting enough sleep makes it difficult to regulate your emotions. How much sleep your body needs depends on several factors, including age. The average adult needs seven to nine hours of restful sleep each night to perform at their best.
To get a better night’s sleep, try these tips:
If you are feeling down, take time throughout each day to pause and meditate or purposeful reflection. There are many different types of meditation, each one designed to help your body achieve peace. To boost your mood, take a moment to breathe slowly, focusing on each inhale and exhale. Reflect on the positive things around you — loved ones, nature, good food, health — and focus on these things. If there is a quote or song lyric that helps you feel better, repeat it to yourself out loud. Do whatever it takes to recenter yourself and focus your mind on moving forward.
Volunteering when you feel blue is a great way to stay busy and keep your mind focused on other things. Numerous mental health benefits come with helping others, including:
To volunteer with an organization or cause, you can use a volunteer match database, like VolunteerMatch or Idealist. These websites match you with charities and organizations based on your passions, skills, experience and interests.
You can also volunteer on a smaller scale by helping your neighbors. Here are some ways you can make a difference in your neighborhood this winter:
Conquer your winter blues this season by getting outdoors with a KOA camping trip. Research shows spending time in the great outdoors can:
With over 500 locations across North America, there is a KOA campground close to you. Say goodbye to winter blues and reserve a stay at one of our cabins, RV Sites or Tent Sites. At every site, you have access to fire pits for cozy campfires, restroom facilities with hot water, the KOA Store and other convenient amenities. The helpful staff at KOA is here to help you make the most out of your winter getaway. Find a KOA near you and start planning the ultimate winter adventure today.